Port of Morrow by The Shins – Album Review
by Matt Callard
Natalie Portman’s cute, knowing aside in cute, knowing indie flick, Garden State that: “The Shins can save your life” has become something of an aural albatross for the band, forever associating them with marginalised cultdom.
Maybe because Portman got there first and the critics just can’t hack it, or maybe it’s just that James Mercer (who essentially is The Shins) is too FM radio, too AOR, just too much in love with old-fashioned melody for the crits to truly let their guard down with him.
“Full of big, meaty hooks”
Sod ‘em. Natalie was right all along. Port of Morrow is glorious, if not not quite The Shins’ masterpiece we were hoping for. And not quite up there with the dazzlingly brilliant first half of Wincing the Night Away – but then, what is?
Esoteric in all the right places, happy, melancholy, bittersweet and so full of big, meaty hooks you could just about hang the entire staff of Rolling Stone from them.
Mercer might look more and more like Kevin Spacey’s slightly haunted younger brother these days, but his unique gift for sophisticated pop craft and intelligent melody is now, pretty much, unrivalled.